50. The Real End…

Walking is the perfect way of moving if you want to see into the life of things.

It is the one way of freedom.

If you go to a place on anything but your own feet you are taken there too fast, and miss a thousand delicate joys that were waiting for you by the wayside.

Today was  better than yesterday.  We set the alarm for 7.00 but woke at 6.30.  We were going back to Fisterra to catch a sunrise.

We could see the sky changing colour as we drove along the coast road… from black to grey to yellow.  We parked in the hotel parking… reserved only for guests but as it’s closed for renovation and we were the only ones there we assumed that no-one would care.

It’s cold now and the wind was bitter. Maggie and I wandered for a bit but the cold got the better of us so we returned to the car to wait.  As we waited Gerry said casually… well I never expected to see that in my rear mirror… we turned to see a herd of goats scrambling up the side of the cliff.  It was too much for me and Maggie and we had to get out to take more photos.  As we snapped the goats (Maggie took a brilliant photo of a surprised goat) the sun appeared… peeping over the clouds… warming us instantly… throwing light and shadows in her path. The sunrise has been such a big big part of this journey and as she rose I could feel my sadness slipping away… the sun had risen and all was well in my world.

We drove to Muxia.  We went early in the hope of avoiding any rush.  We walked up the hill and the first people we saw were our Korean friends so we chatted with them one last time before drifting off on our own. I had another mission.  I found a place to sit amongst the giant rocks and pulled out my list of thoughts. Just as in the Cathedral I went through each name and I asked the seas and the rocks and the sun to think of all my sponsors. I asked them again to please keep us safe and keep us happy.

Then I walked down to the church and then lower still to the steps that lead down to the giant rocks at the edge of the Atlantic.

I’ve carried a little stone with me for a friend… it’s smooth and comforting to hold and its been in my purse since we left Seville.  She asked me to leave it here amongst these ancient stones.  I held it for a while… rolling its smooth edges in my hand.  Letting go of this stone meant letting go of everything… letting go of The Via… letting go of the sadness that has been written within all of those private thoughts… forgetting the circus from last night… letting go of the endings… and the beginnings… releasing the stone somehow signified the end.  I breathed in and threw that little stone as high and as hard as I could… fly little stone, fly… and it did.

I tore up my list into a thousand little pieces… I had to leave it behind too… I had to let it go.  I walked away and looked for Gerry… he was up on the hill watching me… he hugged me and I cried… real tears… big fat tears.

I never realised how important my walking with purpose had been.   I never appreciated the importance of carrying those thoughts… so much sadness and loss.  I never appreciated how integral and intertwined those thoughts had become with my walk.  Walking away I knew that perhaps my walk can’t change what has been… it can’t fix what is already broken…but… but… maybe… just maybe… all of that energy that has been left along this path… all of the hope and joy and purpose that has been left for thousands and thousands of years…  in the churches and cathedrals and walls and monuments and mountains and rivers and prairies and seas… maybe amongst all of this beauty and history something positive can happen.  I hoped so.

And so we walked away and it really felt like an end… not a sad end… just an end…  one chapter in a very big book.

We had lunch and drove on. I had one last job to do. I had to find Mr Whale.  My love affair with the camino was cemented four years ago on a beach. I found my precious shell on that beach beside Mr Whale… and I wanted to go and say hello.

We found him and we sat there in the sun… looking out at the sea and Fisterra beyond.. and when we’d soaked it all in enough we said our goodbyes.
I’m ready now… to turn the page… to start the next chapter. I loved The Via… I’ve had a ball… Everyone should go for a walk… a very long walk… you never know what’s around that next corner.

Ps… one more blog to come 🙂

7 thoughts on “50. The Real End…

  1. Colleen:
    I have read your blog until late at night, fascinated by the details. I arrived in Santiago on Nov. 5, 2016 also, walking from Oloron Ste Marie on the Camino D’Arles through the Somport Pass and the Camino Aragones and on from Puenta la Reina on the Frances to Santiago. I too carried a list of needy persons for whom I prayed. This fall, I plan on walking the Via de la Plata from Seville and through the Camino Sanabres to Santiago. I hope to leave Seville mid-October to avoid the heat. Thanks for your insights.
    Mary Louise


    • Mary Lou, thank you for your kind words. It’s odd to think that we would have been in Santiago on the same day… maybe even in the same bar, or queue at the same time. Your walk sounds incredible! How on earth do you come down to earth after such a long journey? I still think of the people on my list… and the impact that it had on me. Have a wonderful walk from Seville… it was incredible and I would go again in a heartbeat xx


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